Hubballi professor gets a surprise from ‘Gulzar Sahab’

Prized possession: Mustaque Ahmed S. Mulla displays the books sent by lyricist Gulzar.  

Never in his dream had Mustaque Ahmed S. Mulla thought that a letter he wrote to award-winning poet and lyricist Gulzar would lead to a moment he would cherish for life.

It was in the second week of March that Prof. Mulla, principal of Tippu Shaheed Institute of Technology at Old Hubballi, happened to watch a reading of Mirza Galib’s poem by Mr. Gulzar in the ‘Jashn-e-Rekhta’ programme.

A fan of ‘Gulzar Sahab’, Prof. Mulla could not resist penning down what he felt. He also wrote about Mr. Gulzar’s determination on reading and writing in Urdu in its own ‘Rasmul Khat’(script) and his views on learning Urdu and expressing it Devanagari script. Mr. Gulzar’s 1972 film Koshish revolved around visually-impaired characters and Prof. Mulla related to it as his father was disabled. He wrote on how the film changed his view of his father, posted the letter and had almost forgot about it.

One afternoon, a few days later, Prof. Mulla’s cell phone rang and to his surprise, the person identified himself as Gulzar. He could not believe that a Dada Saheb Phalke award winner would personally call him and checked to confirm what he had heard.

The conversation extending to over 15 minutes will remain etched in the memory of Prof. Mulla and his daughter Nikhat Sameen, who was by his side. “Gulzar Sahab thanked me for my letter and sought to know about Hubballi and its literary culture. His poetry, films, the region, my father, his struggle, Koshish... all figured in the conversation,” Prof. Mulla recalled.

Mr. Gulzar asked Ms. Sameen, a postgraduate students, about the city, its literary circles and her literary inclination. She requested Mr. Gulzar to send an endorsed copy of his latest Urdu poetry collection Bal o par sare.

“He said he would send it. A few moments later, he called back to ask whether she knew Urdu. At that moment, I said, I too had the right to an endorsed copy, being her father,” Prof. Mulla told The Hindu. Ms. Sameen told her father that more than a poet and lyricist, Gulzar Sahab was a great human being who respected others’ sentiments.

After the conversation, Mr. Gulzar sent two books, one in English for Prof. Mulla and one in Urdu for Ms. Sameen, with endorsement.

These days, Prof. Mulla’s house has visitors who comes to see the books with Mr. Gulzar’s handwriting. Prof. Mulla never gets tired recalling the pleasant surprise.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 1:04:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hubballi-professor-gets-a-surprise-from-gulzar-sahab/article34339026.ece

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